Taika Waititi is easily one of the most fascinating directors working in film and television. Coming off smaller films like What We Do in the Shadows – which is getting a television spinoff on FX – and Hunt For Wilderpeople, Waititi became a household name with Thor: Ragnarok. He has since become one of the most sought out directors, with rumors like Disney eyeing him to replace James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
During the 2019 Television Critics Association winter press tour, Waititi talked a little bit about those rumors and his current relationship with Marvel Studios. He also talked about What We Do in the Shadows being turned into a TV series and his directed episode of The Mandalorian, Disney+’s Star Wars live-action series. Additionally, he gave some more details on his upcoming film Jojo Rabbit, his upcoming dark comedy drama starring himself, Scarlett Johansson, and Sam Rockwell. More on all of this below.
Deadline was there to cover everything TCA 2019. There, Waititi revealed that he would not be directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. While there were rumors that he would, the director said there were never any formal meetings or offers for him to helm the sequel:
“I didn’t really. For me, those are James (Gunn)’s films. Going into something like that with his stamp all over his films, would be like going into someone’s house and saying ‘Hey, I’m your new dad, and this is how we make peanut butter sandwiches now. It feels kind of awkward.”
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to stop working with Marvel Studios. He told journalists, “I’m still hanging out with those guys (Marvel) and talking about new stuff.” What this new stuff could be is still very much a mystery. Which should not come as a surprise given that the studio likes to keep things a secret. Obviously, with Thor: Ragnarok grossing $854 million worldwide, the two would like to continue on working together for the foreseeable future. “I want to do another movie with them,” Waititi said. With Chris Hemsworth very likely to hangup Stormbreaker after Avengers: Endgame, it should be interesting to see what title the filmmaker will direct.
Moving on to The Mandalorian, Waititi says his experience directing the Disney+ Star Wars series “was amazing.” He adds;
“Favreau is a genius…it’s fun doing something in the Star Wars universe. It’s a strangest to see a stormtrooper, and then when you’re doing a scene with 50 or 60 of them, it’s amazing.”
But when compared to directing Marvel, he says the experiences aren’t quite the same:
“Star Wars is very different to the Marvel style. The tone of the first films really should be adhered to, it’s what the fans like. You can’t disrespect it. Definitely, my tone is in there.”
Finally, Waititi confirms that he is finishing his Fox Searchlight Hitler satire Jojo Rabbit. Starring himself, Scarlett Johansson, and Sam Rockwell, the dark comedy-drama, based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. The story centers on Jojo “Rabbit” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), a young boy living during World War II whose only escapism is through his imaginary friend, an ethnically inaccurate version of Adolf Hitler who pushes the young boy’s naive patriotic beliefs. However, this all changes when a young girl challenges those views and causes Jojo to face his own issues.
All of this is very exciting. Fans of What We Do in the Shadows couldn’t be more thrilled to see more of that world in a television series. Not only that, but we will get to see more of Waititi’s works in The Mandalorian and possibly another Marvel Studios’ film. And to top it all off, Jojo Rabbit will open this autumn. We’ll keep you posted on all of these projects as soon as more developments come in.